Tuesday, January 06, 2015

French Fry Diary 640: Ponderosa Steakhouse

There was a time when you couldn't turn a corner in this area without running into a Ponderosa restaurant. They have all gone away. I think I'd have to drive all the way to New York state or Virginia to find one now. I don't know what we did to offend them, but they're gone. One particular old girlfriend and I used to go there all the time, we loved it.

Ponderosa was part buffet, part cafeteria style, part self-serve, and part service restaurant. They were not as classy as, say the Rustler Steak House or the Bonanza, the latter of which is owned by the same company, but it's not like a Burger King either, ya know?

I would always get the same thing, the two grilled chicken breasts and a side of fries, sometimes the chicken would even come with a barbeque sauce. And when I wasn't in the mood for fries (it does happen), Ponderosa made absolutely awesome baked potatoes. As crazy as this must sound, and as many times as I was there, I don't think I ever once got a steak. Or if I did, I went right back to the chicken, I liked their chicken that much.

The fries at the time, this would have been waaay back in the 1980s, were simple regular cuts, and as I remember you got a pretty good portion. Looking at their current menu online, the baked potatoes look just as awesome, and the fries are pretty much the same, just natural cuts with the addition of some pepper as well as the salt.

From all indications, Ponderosa seems to be more of a buffet type place now, as opposed to what it once was - more Golden Corral than Rustler. Maybe someday I'll get up to NY or down to VA, or maybe on the next trip to Orlando because I saw one there too, and find out.

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